A young Congressman stumbles on the powerful political underworld of 1950's D.C. in this "potent thriller" (David Baldacci) and New York Times bestseller from CNN correspondent Jake Tapper.
Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career...but for his life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Hellfire is right: Set in Eisenhower-era Washington, CNN host Jake Tapper's debut novel blazes with diabolical doings in every corner. Tapper presents the seamy underside of Beltway politics, including the McCarthy witch hunt and the titular secret society. History devotees will appreciate how Tapper threads real-world political figures—some of whom may draw comparison to current power brokers—into the story; their presence helps ground the book’s most outrageous conspiracy-driven elements. The Hellfire Club provides fascinating insights into the murkier side of politics, making it feel unusually current for a work of historical fiction.
CNN's chief Washington correspondent Tapper (The Outpost) makes his fiction debut with an intriguing if uneven political thriller set during the McCarthy era. In December 1953, a New York seat in the House of Representatives becomes vacant upon its occupant's mysterious death. Charlie Marder, a Columbia University academic and WWII veteran, is appointed to fill it after some backstage maneuvering from his well-connected father, a Manhattan power broker. Marder and his zoologist wife, Margaret, make the move to D.C., which is in the grips of Senator Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, as well as the dual shining lights of the Kennedy brothers. It's soon clear that Marder is more pawn than player in a political chess game, even when he tries to stand up against money being funneled to a company that produced shoddy gas masks during the war. He makes friends with the veterans on Capitol Hill, joining them in liquor-soaked poker games. Tapper, whose intimate knowledge of Washington is undeniable, initially spends more time building up the Communist-hunting ambience of the 1950s than developing the plot, but once Marder closes in on a secret society and its tentacles within the government, the action rapidly picks up. Fans of well-researched historicals will be rewarded. Author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper
I really loved how this book was so well-researched. Even though it is fiction, the main events did occur. I did not realize there was a shooting in Congress, but it really happened. I have learned a lot of historic details that I did not know before. The warnings about the danger of using power to enrich oneself and take revenge on one’s enemies is clearly an age-old story, and it should be used as a cautionary tale for today. Beware the McCarthy and Cohn emulators in Washington now!
Great Historical fiction
Thank you Jake for offering an interesting and thoroughly entertaining read. I ate it up.
The parallels and comparisons to todays challenges are important and relevant. Let’s have another book soon!
CNN host's attempt at fiction....
Mr. Tapper, stick to the news. Your antics on the television everyday shouldn't lead you to believe you're some facinating author. Folks, don't waste your money, the book is all based on historical happening that he twists into "his own" fiction.